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Une hypothèse sur l’arrivée de Durkheim à Bordeaux

les « requêtes durkheimiennes » d’Hamelin (mars–avril 1887)

Nicolas Sembel

Le propos de cette note de recherche est d’éclairer un peu plus l’origine de l’arrivée de Durkheim à Bordeaux lors de sa nomination sur un poste universitaire en 1887. Promulgué par arrêté le 20 juillet 1887, effectif lors de la rentrée suivante d’octobre, ce poste de philosophie est centré sur l’éducation (« science sociale et pédagogie ») et constitue un résumé à lui seul de la complexité administrative de l’enseignement supérieur (Gautherin 2002, Callède 2011). Il sera renouvelé annuellement sept fois, puis « sans limite » à partir de juillet 1894. Durkheim, parti en 1902 à Paris pour suppléer F. Buisson (devenu député) pendant 4 ans, jusqu’en 1906, sera remplacé par Gaston Richard également pendant 4 ans. Leur double titularisation aura lieu cette année-là. En 1930, à la retraite anticipée d’un an de Richard, il est destiné à Théodore Ruyssen, âgé de plus de 60 ans, qui ne l’occupe finalement pas, et est attribué, via le Doyen, par des disciples de Durkheim (Davy, Mauss...) et de Hamelin (Darbon, Daudin...) un peu démunis, à Max Bonnafous. Ce dernier se consacre assez vite à sa carrière politique (commencée dans le socialisme et terminée dans la Collaboration), prenant à nouveau de court les gate-keepers du poste. Passeront également par ce poste de Bordeaux Georges Gurvitch, lui aussi rapidement parti, ou Raymond Aron, encore plus rapidement, après six mois.

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Yann Lebeau and David Mills

After years of neglect, there is renewed international interest in higher education in sub-Saharan Africa. Comparative projects have been launched on a continental scale, looking at the socio-economic relevance of higher education, often with the aim of reviving failing institutions. A new 'transformation' policy paradigm has replaced a previously dominant rhetoric of 'crisis'. Promoted by the major funders, this discourse has been adopted by many within African governments and university administrations. We argue that such interventions are possible because of the particular post-colonial historical ties among African, European and American academies. They represent the latest stage of donor involvement in African universities, and are made possible by the outward-looking perspectives of many African scholars. Yet is this latest paradigm shift leading to real changes in research capacity and teaching quality within African institutions? Is it informed by specific institutional needs? We compare research and development projects led by donors with those led by academics themselves. Attempts by international donors to invigorate locally relevant research capacity are limiting the re-emergence of academic autonomy. Academic research 'collaborations', especially those led by European and American scholars, fare little better.'

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Ellen Bal, Erella Grassiani and Kate Kirk

This article is based on our own experiences and that of several of our colleagues teaching social and cultural anthropology in different Dutch institutions for higher learning. We focus in particular on teaching and learning in two small liberal arts and science (LAS) colleges, where anthropology makes up part of the social science curriculum and/or is part of the core curriculum. The data collected from our own critical reflections developed during informal discussion and from formal interviews with colleagues, together with literature on recent changes in academia, leads us to argue that neoliberal individualism, shaped by management tactics that constantly measure individual performance and output, is making academia an increasingly insecure place in which to work and study. The consequences of this insecurity include increasing mental health problems among both students and staff, intensifying competition at the expense of collegiality and collaboration and an overall decrease in the quality of academic jobs and teaching. Although the discipline of anthropology can help us better understand our own conditions, the personalisation of problems and the focus on success obscure the anthropological lens, which looks at social and cultural structures of power and depends on critical reflexivity.

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Sergei I. Kuznetsov and Igor V. Naumov

The eastern region of Russia left a noticeable imprint on the historical fates of the peoples of many foreign countries. Many works on the culture, history, and ethnography of Siberia sprang from the quills of foreign authors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The study of Siberia was presented by people who were themselves exiled and cast away by the Russian government as undesirable or dangerous elements. This fate did not escape the peoples of foreign nations: tens of thousands of Poles, Hungarians, Germans, French, and Japanese were in various times forcibly sent to become acquainted with Siberia. Unfortunately the memories of Siberia for the peoples of a number of countries (Japanese, Hungarians, Poles,) became serious impediments in the way to mutual understanding and collaboration between Russia and those countries. The arrival of foreigners in Siberia is in large part chronicled differently by Russian historians in contrast to historians from other countries. There are various ‘blank spots’ in the history of foreign prisoners in Siberia (for example, prisoners of war from both World Wars), which Russian (Soviet) historians viewed in different terms owing to differing circumstances (with respect to the political character); the Russian ignorance of scholarship by foreign historians was further limited as a result of their inaccessibility.

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Jonathan Parry

This piece tells the story of a disturbing episode in the author's relationship with the field. Though the details are unique, the kind of ethical dilemmas it documents must be in some form or other part of the experience of a great many anthropologists – though such stories are seldom set down in print. These dilemmas include the balance we strike between participation and observation, and between the moral commitments we have as private individuals and our (no less moral) commitment as anthropologists to report on our ethnography in as impartial and objective a way as is possible. Central to this particular story is the anthropologist's relationship with his research assistant over more than two decades, and it tells of the latter's involvement in various human rights campaigns, his arrest, imprisonment and on-going trial on vaguely specified charges. I reflect on the way in which these events have affected my subsequent fieldwork and on the way I have written up. It is the story of a friendship and of a genuine intellectual collaboration between the anthropologist and anthropologist's research assistant that is probably not so uncommon but is seldom fully reflected in the ethnographies we read.

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Global privatized power

Heritage politics and private military contractors in Iraq

Maria Theresia Starzmann

The practice of archaeologists and other heritage specialists to embed with the US military in Iraq has received critical attention from anthropologists. Scholars have highlighted the dire consequences of such a partnership for cultural heritage protection by invoking the imperialist dimension of archaeological knowledge production. While critical of state power and increasingly of militarized para-state actors like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, these accounts typically eclipse other forms of collaboration with non-state organizations, such as private military and security companies (PMSCs). Focusing on the central role of private contractors in the context of heritage missions in Iraq since 2003, I demonstrate that the war economy's exploitative regime in regions marked by violent conflict is intensified by the growth of the military-industrial complex on a global scale. Drawing on data from interviews conducted with archaeologists working in the Middle East, it becomes clear how archaeology and heritage work prop up the coloniality of power by tying cultural to economic forms of control.

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Contested Representations

Exploring China’s State Report

Halme-Tuomisaari and Miia

As states become parties to international human rights treaties, they undertake the obligation to provide periodic state reports to UN human rights treaty bodies. Officially, state reports are paramount vehicles of factual information of a given state’s human rights situation. Unofficially their status may be contested and their data reduced to state propaganda. This article examines this transformation through the submission of China’s first state report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The article shows how human rights documents of diverse genres join together in a continual ceremony of dialogue. It connects minute details of treaty body proceedings to more general developments in the international human rights field, and argues that beneath the veneer of diplomatic conduct accompanying human rights dialogue lays an intense struggle for representation and legitimacy. It further discusses how this struggle reflects the recent rise of Kantian theories of international law. These theories seek to re-evaluate the foundational concept of international law, namely ‘sovereign equality’, and, thus continue the mission civilisatrice that has characterized elements of international collaboration for centuries.

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Christian Promitzer

This article engages with the commonly encountered claim that Bulgarian physical anthropology "features a long, fruitful, and honorable existence," by discussing Bulgarian anthropology's contribution to the controversial issue of ethnogenesis. With the Russian influence waning from the mid-1880s on, the pioneers of Bulgarian anthropology were largely influenced by the German example. But the first generation of Bulgarian anthropologists' tradition of "racial liberalism" (Benoit Massin) was lost after World War I. On the eve of World War II a debate on racism raged among Bulgarian intellectuals. By the time blood group analysis had joined anthropometrics, adherents of a closer collaboration with the Third Reich used it to argue for the Bulgarian nation's non-Slavic origins. In 1938 they even disrupted a lecture given by the biologist Metodiy Popov when he wanted to stress the Bulgarians' ethnic relationship with the other Slavic nations, and to repudiate the idea of a hierarchy of races. During the Socialist period a new generation of anthropologists went on to investigate the Bulgarian ethnogenesis using the term "race", although this clearly contravened the 1950 UNESCO statement on the race question.

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pARTiCI[TY]pate?!

Negotiating the City at the Intersection of Art, Research and Urban Politics

Judith Laister and Anna Lipphardt

Over the past decades, ‘participation’ has evolved as a key concept in a multitude of practice fields and discursive arenas, ranging from diverse political and economic contexts, through academic research, education and social work, urban planning and design, to arts institutions and artistic projects. While participation originally is a political concept and practice, it has long set out as a ‘travelling concept’ (Bal 2002). This special issue focuses on its travels between three fields of practice: the city, the arts and qualitative empirical research. Each of these practice fields over the past decades has yielded distinct understandings, objectives and methods in respect to participations, yet they also increasingly intersect, overlap and fuse with each other within specific practice contexts. What is more, many of the individual actors engaging in these initiatives on behalf of the city – from temporary projects to long-term collaborations – are not situated in one practice field only. Along with Jana König and Elisabeth Scheffel we understand them as ‘double agents’ (König and Scheffel 2013: 272–3) or even ‘multiple agents’, with simultaneous entanglements and commitments in more than one practice field.

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Extended Sites of Action

In and Out of Marginality

Narmala Halstead

The forum in this issue, reflecting on the problematics of the relationship between anthropology and law, as a timely focus is also indicative of how these debates revolve around disciplinary and cross-disciplinary issues. That such co-presence of anthropology and law, incorporating research in informal and formal settings, various kinds of collaboration and, in some instances, sceptical views about its value, continues to merit close attention also signals how views of differences animate a well-populated and extended field. The concerns are often articulated around an epistemic divide between anthropology and law, and allow for questioning both within and across disciplinary areas, even as much is made of the richness of an ethnographic approach to law alongside other methods and analyses, as indicated. Lawrence Rosen, in his response to the commentators in the forum, notes ‘our special area of interest is actually a great doorway into many key issues for both disciplines’, as he identifies the spaces where it is incumbent for anthropologists to act to address these cross-disciplinary challenges.